It was a routine day for me. Carrying that worn out and 'almost dead' acoustic guitar on my back, I walked on under the hot sun. Street singing is not the best of jobs in the world. Many times, I've overheard high flying execuitives lamenting, 'Wish I could spend all day in the world of music. Wish it were my work'. I can't help but laugh at those romantic fools. Its that same old 'grass is greener on the other side syndrome'. It need not be green at all, sometimes it can be real black too. But, don't think am one of those idiots who is highly frustrated with his job. Though I have to walk miles, strum and sing non-stop, I do love it for the unlimited experiences it gives me. Now, you may be wondering -"This guy speaks like one who has done his english masters." No, I have never seen the gates of a school. All of it was passed on to me by my legendary grandfather who didn't have a penny to his name. All he possessed was an ocean of knowledge, this guitar on my back and a great collection of old music records from the days of Presley and Rafi to those of ACDC and Rahman. Those were the alms he got from some music lovers who were mesmerised by his brilliance. When he died towards the turn of the millennium, he left it all to me. That was the day I started my job of singing on the streets.
Though I intoduced myself as a street singer, am more of a train singer. There's nothing like walking the whole length of an Indian railways train and singing to such a diverse bunch of people. Somebody rightly said, to see the real India, travel in the trains. Today also am singing in the train heading to Chennai. As the loco pulled out of the sleepy Trivandrum central station, I started the day's work with an 'okyish' rendition of the classic 'Wish you were here' by Pink Floyd. Most of the time I get such crazy stares when I sing english songs. Sometimes people make me stop it and ask to sing in one of the million Indian languages. I, for my part, has made it a point to learn atleast one hit song from all the major languages in India. The train is not very crowded today, so I don't expect much of a collection today. In one of the cubicles, there was an old man with long hair and a pure white beard. The wrinkles on his face gave him an aura of respectability. I hope I'll look half as good as him when am his age.
"You sing pretty well, young boy"
"Thank you, sir"
"Can you sing me a devotional song?"
"Sorry sir. Am an atheist."
The old man smiled knowingly.
Yes, He had a point. But, I hate it when people give me such boring sermons. Anyway I will sing some song for him and try to get something from him. As I finished singing 'Nothing else matters', I saw him shaking his head in a disappointed manner.
"What is it? You didn't like my song?"
Weekend Concert Update-
For those in Mumbai and Pune, Motherjane is launching the myspace India secret shows alongwith Scribe and Black at Bandra amphitheatre. Time - 6 30 PM
your crusader Praveen